Skincare advice always includes a reminder to wear sunscreen. After all, it protects the skin from damage brought about by UV rays.
The thing about sunscreen though, is that most formulas tend to feel heavy on the skin. Most users complain about feeling too sticky, heavy, or greasy after application.
Usual ingredients like Titanium and Zinc dioxide have thick consistencies, making them comedogenic. This means that they eventually cause clogged up pores.
People with acne-prone skin suffer the most from this. Pores clogged with ingredients are also more likely to trap oil and dirt with them. This is what creates pimples.
Thankfully, many new non-comedogenic products are now being introduced.
We’ve rounded up the 10 best sunscreens for face application that you can use.
10 Best Non-Comedogenic Sunscreens
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF60
Best for Acne-Prone Skin
Delivering a whopping SPF60, this product by La Roche-Posay is the best face sunscreen we recommend. The brand has also always been at the forefront of making products safe enough for those who are acne-prone.
This sunscreen received many awards through the years for its Cell-Ox Shield Technology that protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays.
When applied, your skin gets a light matte finish. You barely feel anything sitting on your skin as it absorbs quickly. It also doesn’t leave a white cast like most kinds of sunscreen do.
This is great for acne prone skin since it is oil-free to ensure that pimples don’t form. It’s also rich in antioxidants that nourish the skin to keep it from showing signs of sun damage.
Shake the bottle well before use. Swipe onto skin after moisturizing. Wait for at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10.72%, Octisalate 3.21%, Octocrylene 6%, Oxybenzone 3.86%
- SPF60; broad sunblock spectrum
- Has a cell-ox shield that helps reduce free radicals
- Ideal for sensitive skintypes
- Feels greasy upon application
Clinique Pep Start Daily UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Best for Sensitive Skin
On top of having SPF50, this sunscreen also has a universal perfecting tint. This means that you also get subtle coverage for any blemishes. It’s perfect for days when you have no time for a full face of makeup.
It consists of a 100% mineral formula that shields the skin from UVA and UVB rays. This makes it mild and non-irritating. Despite being light on the skin, it still offers maximum hydration.
This is good for sensitive skin types since the formulation is weightless and free from any irritants.
You can wear it on its own or under makeup.
Shake the bottle well. Blend it onto the skin after using moisturizer. Let the product absorb for 15 minutes before sun exposure.
Titanium Dioxide 6.3% and Zinc Oxide 4.0%
- Suitable for combination skintypes
- Lightweight formula
- Has a broad UV spectrum
- Provides sin-enlivening glow
- Overall formula lacks antioxidants
- Slightly expensive
Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35
Best for Oily Skin
The best thing about this sunscreen is how it feels lightweight on the skin while providing many benefits.
More than being an SPF35 sunscreen, it’s also a non-comedogenic primer and pore perfector.
Japanese wild rose tightens pores while Silk extract leaves smoothen skin texture. Antioxidants from Loquat leaf extract calms the skin while protecting it as well.
This sunscreen leaves a blurring effect without being chalky. This product also makes makeup application so much easier.
Others also enjoy wearing this on its own, as they would a primer.
Blend onto the skin after moisturizer. Let it settle for 15 minutes before sun exposure.
Zinc Oxide 15% and Octisalate 5%
- Lightweight & mattifying effects
- Smooth application
- Has antioxidants & soothing agents
- Works well even under makeup
- Excellent hydrating properties
- Might cause irritation
- Slightly expensive
Neutrogena Clear Face Break-Out Free Liquid Lotion Sunscreen SPF 55
This is another sunscreen that offers great coverage. It has become one of Neutrogena’s best-selling products because of this.
The consistency is water-like and leaves a matte finish. It also feels almost weightless when applied so you know that your pores can breathe.
If you have acne prone skin, then this is sunscreen perfect for you. Its ingredients were specially formulated for preventing breakouts.
Your skin also stays protected from UV damage because of its unique Helioplex Technology.
Blend onto skin after moisturizer. Wait for at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
Avobenzone 2.7%, Homosalate 4%, Octisalate 4.5%, Octocrylene 6%, Oxybenzone 4.5%
- Great for sensitive skintypes
- Excellent sunblock
- Dries easily
- Chemical formulation might be irritating for some
- Not easily found
Glossier Invisible Shield SPF35
The Glossier brand on its own is already a cult favorite. The moment they offered a daily sunscreen product, so many raved about it.
Invisible Shield comes in a water-gel formula that is easy to apply. The texture actually feels more like a serum than a sunscreen. This comes as a breath of fresh air when compared to the usual heavy sunscreen formulas.
True to its name, it dries clear. You don’t get any white cast on your skin, so it isn’t obvious that you’re wearing sunscreen.
Its SPF35 formula contains active microcapsules. This makes the product easily absorbed by the skin so you can wear makeup over it too.
Massage onto the skin after moisturizer. Wait 15 minutes before sun exposure.
Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 6%, Octisalate 5%
- Absorbs well onto the skin
- Good hydrating properties
- Lightweight formula
- Contains a lot of antioxidants
- Great for all skintypes
- Orange peel oil carries a phototoxic skin-risk
Elta MD UV Physical Sunscreen SPF 46
This sunscreen by Elta MD is the best sunscreen for face application if you’re acne prone. Dermatologists confirm it doesn’t have ingredients that clog pores.
Along with SPF 46, it also contains Hyaluronic acid that moisturizes your skin. Niacinamide and Lactic acid keep skin looking plump and healthy as well.
It gives maximum UVA UVB protection without leaving residue as it dries. Makeup also stays intact when used over this sunscreen.
Because of its hydrating properties, this is already a moisturizer in itself. It’ll let you skip that extra step. No need to pile on a lot of products when using this.
Blend onto skin after moisturizing. Let it fully absorb for 15 minutes before sun exposure.
9.0% Zinc oxide and 7.5% Octinoxate
- Non-greasy formula
- Does not leave any residue after application
- Has niacinamide and vitamin B-3
- Ideal for sensitive skintypes
- Comes in tinted and non-tinted versions
- Not water-resistant
- More expensive than most brands
Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Faces Weightless Sunscreen SPF30
Hawaiian Tropic is one of the most famous sunscreen brands there is. This sunscreen offers a lightweight texture with great sun protection.
The formula is enriched with shea butter and silk proteins. These ingredients soothe and moisturize for up to 12 hours.
The shea butter ingredient will especially benefit those with dry skin. You’ll see that your skin is noticeably softer and more hydrated the more you use this product.
It feels like whipped cream when freshly applied but dries completely clear. It doesn’t have an overly dry or chalky finish either. You are protected from UVA UVB light while barely feeling the sunscreen on your skin.
The Skin Cancer Foundation also highly recommends this product.
Massage onto skin after moisturizer. Wait at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
- reef-safe (made without oxybenzone and octinoxate)
Avobenzone 2.0%, Octocrylene 4.0%, Octisalate 4.5%, Homosalate 5.5%
- Strong UV-protection
- Lightweight formula
- Moisturizing effects last long
- Ideal for dry skintypes
- Greasy formula
- Fragrance can be strong for some
Dermalogica Oil Free Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 30
This sunscreen contains a unique, ultra-sheer formula. It is clear when applied so you don’t look like you’re wearing any product at all.
It also feels light on the skin while still delivering strong protection from UV rays. It blends in pretty quickly once you apply it.
Its ingredients are a blend of Caffeine, Niacinamide, Zinc Gluconate, Yeast Extract, and Biotin. Oil absorbers are also mixed in to ensure a matte finish.
Despite being free from any oils, this sunscreen doesn’t give you powdery residue. You can expect shine-free skin throughout the day.
Since this product mattifies easily, it can also be used on its own.
Spread evenly onto skin after moisturizer. Let the product settle for at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
- artificial fragrance-free
- artificial color-free
Avobenzone 3.00%, Homosalate 8.00%, Octisalate 4.00%, Oxybenzone 5.00%
- Suitable for oily and acne-prone skintypes
- Reduces redness and inflammation
- Provides a healthy glow
- Grapefruit oil may be irritating for some users
- Fairly expensive
Obagi Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50
For those who are prone to breakouts and irritation, this sunscreen is the best one to use. It’s non-greasy and fragrance-free, so it doesn’t clog pores.
Aside from being non comedogenic, it also gives plenty of protection from UV light. It acts as both a physical and chemical sunscreen with its SPF50 formulation.
The Skin Cancer Foundation highly recommends this sunscreen. It makes sure you’re protected from many types of UV rays.
You are shielded from infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light when using this. It can even handle infrared radiation.
It dries with a matte finish that makes skin look more radiant. Most users say they enjoy wearing this on its own, even without makeup.
Blend onto your skin after your non-comedogenic moisturizer. Wait for 15 minutes before any sun exposure.
Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Zinc Oxide16.5%
- Does not leave any white residue
- PABA-free so it doesn’t cause allergic reactions or leave any stains
- Matte finish leaves non-greasy effect
- Might be sensitive for dry skintypes
- Slightly expensive
ColoreScience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Sunscreen SPF30
The trickiest part of using sunscreen is always the reapplication. This is especially if you’re wearing makeup. A liquid sunscreen could melt your entire look, and you’ll have to do it all over.
It’s a good thing that ColoreScience created a sunscreen that comes in powder form. It offers the same amount of skin protection that any liquid sunscreen can.
This brush-on product has a mineral formula that can be used on any skin type. The powder is non comedogenic and free from any harsh chemicals.
People with skin allergies like eczema and rosacea can safely use this. Dermatologists also approve it to be used after skin resurfacing and laser peel procedures.
Reapplying sunscreen with makeup on has never been easier now that this product is available. This is a good choice for all skin types.
Sweep the brush over your face in a circular motion to release powder. Apply 15 minutes before sun exposure. For the best results, you can use it over a liquid sunscreen as well.
Titanium Dioxide 21% and Zinc Oxide 11.8%
- Contains hyaluronic acid & antioxidants
- Great for all skintypes
- Does not provide full UV-protection
Why is Sunscreen Important for Acne Prone Skin?
Though we know that sunscreen is important for all skin types, it’s especially needed by those who are acne prone. This study shows how sunscreen as part of the skin care regimen helps those with acne. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen every morning for those with depressed acne scars.
Not being protected from the sun will only cause irritation on breakout-prone skin.
Heat exposure causes over-drying of the skin and, in more extreme cases, sunburns. This will aggravate any current issues and may cause peeling.
It can also disrupt the healing of any acne that isn’t active anymore. The skin will even be more vulnerable and sensitive with constant heat exposure.
Another reason why sunscreen is important for those who are acne prone is because of scarring. Even when pimples heal, they tend to leave dark marks behind.
Scars like dark marks are more likely to be present on acne prone skin. When exposed to direct heat or sunlight, this leads to discoloration. This is since direct exposure to the sun makes skin darken and damages your skin faster.
Hyperpigmentation will be another tricky problem to solve should this happen. The best thing to do is to opt for prevention by always using sunscreen.
Do Higher Amounts of SPF Clog Pores?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It measures the ability of your sunscreen to protect you from UVB rays.
UVB rays are responsible for sunburns. These are the biggest culprits of diseases like melanoma and cancer. They’re different from UVA rays.
In contrast, UVA rays are the cause of fine lines and wrinkles.
When you see any sunscreen containing Broad Spectrum SPF, then it protects you from both UVA and UVB.
A higher factor means more protection. Anything lower than 15 gives mild protection. Factors from 15 to 30 offer moderate protection. A factor above 30 has high protection.
An SPF product of at least 30 is recommended by dermatologists. It makes you 97% more protected from harmful light.
That being said, higher SPF doesn’t really have any correlation to being more irritating to pores.
It all really lies in the formula of your sunscreen. As long as it contains non comedogenic ingredients, then it’s good enough.
The best option to choose would be a sunscreen greater than SPF30 with a non comedogenic formula. This is why we recommended La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Sunscreen at the top of our list.
It has SPF60 but still stays lightweight in consistency. It won’t clog your pores or cause acne and irritation.
Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen
Like the Baz Luhrmann song goes, “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen”.
Long gone are the days when you’d be averted to using sunscreen. No need to worry about the product feeling too heavy or sticky.
Many brands have created special formulas that have high SPFs while still being lightweight. They have even solved how to get rid of the annoying white cast you get from old formulations.
Now, you can wear sunscreen without discomfort, whether on its own or with makeup. Most formulas now are easily absorbed and quick to dry as well.
We aren’t even limited to just liquid sunscreen anymore! A sunscreen in powder form exists already. Other brands also go the extra mile by adding vitamins, acids, and antioxidants to their sunscreen.
Most importantly, we have non comedogenic sunscreen choices now too. You can slather on as much non comedogenic formula as you want without worrying about breaking out the next morning.
With all those options, you no longer have an excuse to not wear sunscreen. Simply pick one and stick to it. Additionally, if you’re planning to get a tan, you might want to get a sunscreen that’s formulated for that. Check out our Best Sunscreens for Tanning article for options.
Our final parting tip is to always blend the sunscreen onto your face well. Make sure it is spread evenly. This will allow the sunscreen to be fully absorbed by your body and face. It will also prevent the product from caking later on.
Next, you should wait at least 15 minutes before sun exposure. The product will settle in better this way and also works much better.
Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen! So make sure that you always wear yours.
And now that you’re all set with sun protection, you might also want to check out the Best Self Tanners for Sensitive Skin and Best Indoor Tanning Lotions if you want your skin to look warmer and healthier.